In a stunning piece of investigative journalism, Terri Hardy of the Los Angeles Daily News has revealed that the Los Angeles Unified School District regularly provides Latino children in “bilingual” programs with just half a day of academic instruction—with the other half devoted to playground “mixing,” namely an extended recess period.
This longstanding elementary school practice has generated complaints over the years from concerned teachers and parents, but resulted in no visible action from the LAUSD leadership. Carmen Schroeder, under whose authority as director of “bilingual” programs the practice was developed and implemented, expressed no knowledge as to what fraction of Latino schoolchildren are provided with merely half-day school instruction, and stated that there were no plans to curtail or modify the practice of three-hour playground recesses at heavily Latino schools. Ms. Schroeder was recently promoted and placed in charge of all LAUSD instructional programs.
Ron Unz, Chairman of the English for the Children campaign, points out that Latino children in Los Angeles have among the lowest academic test scores and the highest dropout rates of any ethnic group, and are far, far less likely than Anglo children to be admitted to college. “If LAUSD indeed has a systematic official policy of giving Latino children three hours of playground recess each day and only half the academic instruction time of Anglo children, it’s amazing that Latino children are doing as well as they are.”
- LAUSD plays at teaching
Los Angeles Daily News, Sunday, December 21, 1997, FRONT PAGE